Polled Cattle: The Way of the Future

In the global dairy population, horned cattle are more common because fewer farmers are selecting genetics for polled cattle. Polled genetics selection has always been subordinated to genetic selection for conformation, health, and productivity qualities. In previous years, it has been a choice between having more performance or polled because the genetic quality of polled cattle was less superior. But that is not the case anymore with ABS' polled lineup!

Times are changing with the desire to produce polled cattle growing. Public awareness of dehorning methods has influenced the recent increase in focused polled genetics. From an animal welfare standpoint, naturally hornless cattle are more appealing to off-farm consumers; but, from a producer one, doing away with dehorning improves animal welfare on the dairy, reduces management needs, and increases safety for those working on dairies.

The Benefits of Choosing Polled Cattle

  • Promote animal welfare
  • Eliminate the need for dehorning
  • Reduce management practices needed
  • Decrease the risk of infection or sickness
  • Increases safety for those working on dairies
  • The genetic quality of polled cattle continues to improve

You no longer must sacrifice productivity, health, or confirmation in your genetic selection to achieve polled.]

Polled: The Dominant Gene

The majority of people are unaware that the polled gene is dominant. Put simply, animals with one copy of the polled gene and one copy of the horned gene will not have horns. The following figure shows the results of breeding with homozygous or heterozygous polled bulls. It is noteworthy that if you are working towards a completely polled cattle herd, you can use a heterozygous polled (single P) sire with 50% of the resulting calves being polled. Another option is to utilize a homozygous polled (double PP) sire, which results in 100% of the calves being polled. This means you can create naturally hornless cattle in one generation. Because the polled gene is dominant, you can produce polled cattle faster than you could if the gene was recessive.


It’s no longer an ‘and/or’ situation. You don’t have to choose between polled or elite genetics with ABS’ polled offering. ABS remains dominant in the polled cattle space, and our pipeline only continues to grow stronger. We are proud to offer more than 50 polled sires to our customers in North America. You can trust ABS as your source for the best of both—no horns and no compromise.

To learn more about why polled cattle and our offering, contact your local ABS Genetic Advisor or complete the form through the link below.